New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has shown that a 12-week remote support program significantly improved blood pressure measurements in a cohort who started with elevated blood pressure.
A total of 156 participants with high blood pressure completed the randomized controlled trial. Participants were randomly assigned at the start of the study to a group that got lifestyle guidance from the American Heart Association (AHA) for 12 weeks or a group that got AHA guidance plus weekly calls with a dietician for 12 weeks.
At the end of the study, both groups saw reductions in 24-hour systolic blood pressure. However, the group receiving weekly dietician calls saw further reductions in several health measures, such as self-reported physical activity, diet quality, and weight loss. Overall, both groups saw significant improvements in their blood pressure.
One of the study’s authors noted that both remote support programs improved blood pressure similarly to taking blood pressure medications. Given the low cost and potentially large scalability of such programs, future implementation of similar telehealth support groups could result in improved blood pressure for many patients. High blood pressure is widespread among Americans and can damage the arteries leading to the heart, which ultimately may cause heart disease. Major steps for lowering blood pressure include exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding excess sodium in the diet. Alcohol, smoking, and stress can also lead to elevated blood pressure. Heart disease and high blood pressure are both rising in America, and implementing low-cost measures such as telehealth programs may be an effective method to slow their spread.
Sources: JAHA, Science Daily